Embrace technology or become irrelevant – Minister Murwira

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

HIGHER and Tertiary Education Minister, Amon Murwira has challenged youths in the country to embrace technology saying Zimbabwe’s future now lies in robotics and artificial intelligence.

Murwira was talking to journalists in Victoria Falls ahead of the 6th session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (AFRFSD) which formally starts this Monday.

On Saturday and Sunday, some side pre-events were taking place ahead of the high-profile forum to be officially opened by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday.

The summit, which ends Thursday, will discuss for the first time, all SDGs.

One of the side events is the youth forum themed, “Youth as drivers of SDGs in Africa” scheduled for Monday and was preceded by a two-day youth bootcamp on Saturday and Sunday.

Murwira had just met UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Vera Songwe in a closed-door meeting which also had Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima at Elephant Hills Hotel.

He said youths risked becoming irrelevant if they did not embrace technology.

The top government official further said youths also have the potential to drive Zimbabwe towards attaining an upper middle-income economy if they used artificial intelligence.

“We can’t have youths studying for pleasure. We study for issues,” said Murwira.

He said economies are built from science, technology and innovation through full participation.

“We are saying this is how education 5.0 is being conceptualised and broadcast for them to participate in the modernisation and industrialisation of this country through action. When you make the youth participate, you are making the future possible.

“Robotics and artificial intelligence are key to leapfrogging the country to a better economy. Artificial intelligence is about machine learning and technology that mimic human behaviour and tasks previously done by humans and are now being done by machines and to me this is leapfrogging that we are talking about,” said Murwira.

He said artificial intelligence and robotics are going to be the future in terms of implementing industry 4.0 in terms of technology and development of technology into the 21st century.

This 4.0 is all about the use of artificial intelligence to be able to do tasks faster and more efficiently.

“As they learn, they begin to be participants and not only recipients of technology and by doing that we are creating a Zimbabwean for the future, a Zimbabwean that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence for the development of this country by exploiting Zimbabwe heritage of mineral resources, agriculture, water and all other resources that the country has in a faster and more efficient way for the betterment of the lives of the people of Zimbabwe,” Murwira said.

He said the country is looking for an upper middle-income economy whose attainment is only possible by using most efficient methods to beneficiate natural resources to modernise the country.